Friday, June 27, 2014

Transgressive cinema and overheard conversations

So today, I'm sitting in a busy Starbucks in downtown Chicago. I was driven out of the Cultural Center by the stomping noise of Gospelfest and there are insane bible belt protesters across the street in Millennium Park, so I am having to pay for my wifi and eat it too.

I needed coffee anyway; I came down to be experimented on for money by an undisclosed company. So, I had to be clean and caffeine-free this morning.

I'm still reading through my NecronomicoN collection. It's light, and there's always the fun awkwardness of someone looking over my shoulder while I'm reading a scholarly analysis of Deep Throat.

According to Zizek's recent work, both the phases of the symbolic and the real are evidenced in narrative forms such as detective fiction which he argues either work to confirm or deny the link between discourse and gendered identity. To posit the giallo as evidence of the real is to acknowledge why texts such as Tenebrae are so frequently seen as overriding what Franco Moretti defines as the "good rules" of detective fiction. 
-- Xavier Mendik, "Detection and Transgression"



The importance of the Evil Dead cycle lies in its reacquisition of film history and its active, even analytical, participation in that history. The cycle represents simultaneously the end of a phase in genre history - that of the 'classic' stalker film - and the beginning of another - that of the return of the horror film to vaudeville. In other words, the function of slapstick/splatshtick in these films is not merely to displace narrative from its (assumed) position of dominance, but to override generic coding in many ways as well. After all, what do the filmmakers do with the larger budget of Evil Dead 2? They make the same film again, only funnier. -- Julian Hoster, "The Evil Dead"



Angela Carter named the three surrealist love goddesses as being Louise Brooks first and foremost, followed by Dietrich and Barbara Steele. -- Carol Jenks, "The Other Face of Death"
It's not me they're seeing. They're casting some projection of themselves, some aspect that I somehow symbolise. It can't possibly be me. -- Barbara Steele 



You can argue that I shouldn't be reading potentially offensive material in public, but I'm having to sit here and listen to one group of people yell at me about being sent to hell while some generic men of privilege at the next table complain about social programs destroying the moral fabric of America. Zizek posits that traditional genre fiction breaks down upon intrusion of realistic shades of morality and becomes transgressive. All these people around me seem to be spinning fictions to protect themselves from this intrusion. But the irrational will still break through, whether a symbolic flock of birds or mild-mannered Norman Bates surprising us with murder. Or another real-life school shooting.
For a horror film to make an impact today, it seems that the director has to include at least one token visit to the land of the lowest common denominator - that of bodily taboo, just as a porn film is never "hard" enough unless it involves at least one "split beaver shot"...     --Mikita Brottman, "Psycho/The Birds"


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